Monday, April 30, 2012

I'm Blessed

I'm blessed by these wonderful treasures and I'm thankful for all the time I get to spend with them! It makes my heart happy to see how they grow and change each day.

Check out other people who feel blessed on my friend Gretchen's blog.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


While we were in Hutchinson we had a great time playing with my parents and my brother, Ken's family. My four kids love to play with their two cousins! When we weren't busy playing at Dillon Nature Center, we also managed to play at my parent's and brother's houses. The weather was beautiful the whole time!

 My brother Ken, Staci, Cousin A and I.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Dedication Ceremony

While we were down in Kansas visiting my family for my dad's retirement we were able to celebrate the dedication for the Jim Smith Playscape at the Dillon Nature Center. My kids LOVE playing here and Shawn and I were able to help brainstorm some ideas to include at the very beginning of the project. It was really neat to see the project progress from idea to the wonderful place my children enjoy playing at today.

This was a facility whose staff was under my dad's management so we were able to watch him give a speech. The Dillon Nature Center is a place that is near and dear to my heart, I was able to attend science camp there as a child, I worked the science camp for three summers and watched as the center changed to the wonderful place that it is today.

The playscape has everything a kid could possibly need water, sand, dirt, sticks and places to run free and wild.

Listening to Papa speak.

 My father talking about the Playscape.

K-man, K-girl and Cousin A were excited to be part of the ribbon cutting ceremony! This was a special honor that I'm sure my kids will remember for years to come.

After the speeches and ribbon cutting the kids were able to participate in many of the fun activities that the staff had planned in and around the playscape for the day. It was a perfect day!

 Floating boats down the river.

 K-baby enjoying the grass hills.

 K-man playing in a stick tepee.

 Cousin A and K-girl digging in the giant sandbox.

 The cousins (minus one napping cousin) posing for a picture on the climbing tree.

 K-sis creating some fun with pieces of wood.

 Nana Kristi helping the kids create!

 Posing under the eagle with Nana, Papa and Cousin A a the entrance to the DNC.

 More pictures of the cousins, I love this bear bench.

 Turtles at the pond.

 My brother Ken, Cousin I and K-baby enjoying some shade on the observation deck.

 Creating maracas from dried gourds.

 Bird seed pine cones with peanut butter.

 All the k-kids planing sunflower seeds with Papa Tom in the background.

 K-girl's boat.

 K-sis's boat.

The DNC is a perfect place for good pictures and I always manage to get the kids to stand still for a few on our trips.

We had a fabulous time and can't wait to get back to KS to play again some time soon. I just wish we had a natural playscape park in our town too.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dad's Retirement Surprise

After 23 years of serving as the Recreation Director for the city of Hutchinson my father is retiring. His retirement party was on the 22nd of April and the kids and I decided to drive down and surprise him. We left at 1 a.m. on Friday morning and managed to arrive in Hutchinson by 12:45 p.m. just in time for lunch with my mom. (With a 11-12 hour drive we don't usually just drop in unannounced.) My mother called my dad to meet us at the store and the kids waved to him as he drove up. We had managed to keep it a surprise and he was so excited that we could make it.

My dad with all the kids.

 My parents hosted a lunch get together for all our family who drove in for the occasion. All of my dad's siblings were able to come and we had a great time visiting with all the aunts, uncles, cousins and second cousins. Shawn's parents and Staci's mom also came to celebrate with us.

 K-man managed to organize a game of kickball.

The kids always love the ride-on toys.

 The giant sandbox is always a hit.

 All of Papa Bo's great grand kids. The kids always have fun playing together and it makes me wish we lived a little bit closer.

 Nana Yvette made the trip up for the party too. It's always fun to have both sets of grandparents around.

K-baby had too much fun early in the day and fell asleep on the way to Papa's party.

Wish my arms full of a sleeping child, I didn't get very many pictures.

 This is the back of the travel quilt my mom made for my dad. Each of the grand kids colored a picture that she pieced into the backing.

 The cake and meal were delicious and was made by the same family that made our wedding cake. Thanks Girsts for the yummy food!

The kids and my parents sitting on the new bench my dad received from his co-workers.

We can't wait to hear about all of your travels!